Cabin crew members of British Airways "mixed fleet" have decided to call a 48-hour strike starting on 10 January after the airlines refused to hold talks over an ongoing pay dispute, trade union Unite said on Tuesday (3 January).

The striking members had planned a stoppage on Christmas and Boxing Day soon after rejecting a pay offer made by the company for the mixed fleet staffers, but later called it off

Announcing the upcoming strike, Unite said: "The move follows repeated attempts by Unite to hold meaningful talks with the airline after 'mixed fleet' cabin members voted to reject a pay offer negotiated at the conciliation service Acas, before Christmas. A two day stoppage scheduled for Christmas day and Boxing Day was suspended to allow Unite members to vote on the offer."

The union accused the airlines of not addressing the issue of "poverty pay", referring to the discrimination in pay packages for certain "mixed fleet" staff members and other long-serving staffers. Unite also accused the airlines company of threatening the cabin crew members to leave the union to be able to receive the offered pay package.

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: "British Airways is needlessly provoking strike action by refusing to extend the mandate of the strike ballot and allow meaningful talks to take place.

"Instead of listening to why its 'mixed fleet' cabin crew rejected the offer negotiated at Acas, British Airways has sought instead to try and bully a workforce of young men and women who are trying to eke out a living on poverty pay.

British Airways
Cabin crew members of British Airways "mixed fleet" are going on a strike on 10 ad 11 January, Unite union said on 3 January - File photoReuters/Luke MacGregor

"Such game playing and a desire to seek confrontation is not only a great disservice to passengers, but shows an unwillingness by British Airways to engage in constructive industrial relations.

"Unite remains hopeful that a negotiated settlement which meets our members' aspirations can be achieved and would urge British Airways to engage constructively in meaningful talks to address poverty pay," Richardson said.

Meanwhile, British Airways has said that the strike will not affect its operations as Unite cabin crew members account for only 15% of their workforce. The airlines group also said it will reveal a contingency plan on 6 January to deal with the situation, Reuters reported.